Wednesday Night #1847

Written by  //  August 1, 2017  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

We had to wait before posting this to learn who would be the hosts of the ‘new’ National.
As devotees of CBC news, we are delighted by the choice of four highly qualified professionals Adrienne Arsenault, Rosemary Barton, Andrew Chang, Ian Hanomansing to host The National
They will undoubtedly work well together, play off one another’s strengths and bring a fresh flavor to the flagship program. Well done, CBC!

We are so pleased that Désirée will be joining us on this last Wednesday before she returns to Pearson College UWC for alumni reunions. She will be coming to us after attending the Canadian Viewing Party for An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power  at the Forum (Very limited number of tickets available https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/billets-avant-premiere-de-an-inconvenient-sequel-a-montreal-version-anglaise-36549524612 but there are public shows at the Forum on Thursday as well)

There will be much to catch up on from her perspective, including a quick look at BC politics –e.g. the new BC  government and  Christy Clark’s announcement that she is retiring from the political arena – and a number of exciting developments in the Pearson calendar around the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Lester Pearson’s Nobel Peace Prize.

As always,  there is news from around the world: North Korea’s successful ICBM  launch on Friday (North Korea Tests a Ballistic Missile That Experts Say Could Hit California) and the not very reassuring comments from the White House on Monday: ‘We handle everything’ (so far, the track record has not been great); the dramatic events of Venezuela’s vote on Sunday (Maduro seems unimpressed with the reaction); Russia’s tit-for-tat to U.S. sanctions (one European observer reminds us that ‘Russia just demands that the US presence in Russia be brought to the same level as the Russian presence in the US.’) and our WN Davids (Jones and Kilgour) take a dim view of the efficacy of sanctions,  David T. Jones:  Sanctions Are Feckless and David Kilgour:  American Leads With Sanctions, Allies Unlikely to Follow Developments in Pakistan have been somewhat overshadowed by these other evens, but our friend C Uday Bhaskar keeps us informed with his analysis:  A Chapter in Pakistani Politics Closes With Nawaz Sharif’s Exit

The continuing Brexit saga is uppermost in many minds and we have recently been entertained by reactions from a group of international observers to There is plenty of good Brexit news, we’re just ignoring it  and Dear Leavebugs, it’s time to admit your mistake  Of more value is No Dunkirk Spirit Can Save Britain From Brexit Defeat

Hard as we try, these days, it is exceptionally difficult to remain timely -or sanguine- with respect to the goings-on in Washington.
Last week, we enjoyed Sam Stein’s vivid explanation of the Tri-state brotherhood (“also known as bridge-and-tunnel guys”) that had been brought to the fore by the arrival of Anthony Scaramucci (nobody commented on the dreadful thought that Scaramucci is, in fact,  an Italian plural)  on the White House scene. After relishing the New Republic’s Trump, “Mooch,” and the Rise of the New York Douchebag and the prescient Rolling Stone sub-head It’s too bad he won’t last past the end of this sentence  (Matt Taibbi also gets the gold star for “he dresses like the owner of a Lamborghini dealership”), we learned that it was all (according to The Atlantic) Mooch Ado About Staffing.

What next for The Mooch? He sold his company SkyBridge Capital in January as he angled for a Washington job.In June, it was reported that he was Trump’s choice as Ambassador to the OECD (Kimon, we can hear your reaction!), a post subject to Senate confirmation and that in the interim he would work at the Export-Import Bank. We suspect those options are no longer available.

Erudite pundits (see Roger Cohen Goodbye to the Scaramouch) and clever headline writers may miss The Mooch;  late-night comedy shows, for whom he was a worthy successor to Sean Spicer as favorite target, surely will. We, meanwhile, hold our breath and hope that with the arrival of General John Kelly as Chief of Staff, some order may be brought to the White House. That is, if General Kelly can put up with the fact that most of the disorder comes straight from the top. The Washington Post is not so sure – Scaramucci’s firing might be the high-point of John Kelly’s tenure as chief of staff.

There is  a fascinating in-depth piece from Vanity Fair Is The New York Times vs. The Washington Post vs. Trump the Last Great Newspaper War?  It was the NYT that broke the story of The Mooch’s departure/firing but thanks to the rivalry between the two great publications, we are assured of minute-by-minute coverage of all new developments.
For political news junkies, this is pure heaven!

We were recently very concerned that several messages to our OWN David  Mitchell had been returned and were greatly relieved when he called to say that he was fine, but the victim of  Bell Canada/Sympatico  incompetence. We were delighted to have the chance to catch up with him de vive voix and also to have news of Parker since he left Engineers Without Borders for new  professional pursuits. Parker’s latest venture is Accompany.io  that builds simple tools to help teams work better together. PERSPECTIVE and ALIGN were beta-launched in March 2017. Accompany.io work with leaders and teams who want to build a better workplace. We can think of a number of potential clients (see below) ….

Montreal has survived Formula E, but will Mayor Coderre? Much as we like the idea of promoting electric cars, we cannot avoid nagging doubts about the mayor’s poorly thought through – and extremely disruptive – project. We also suggest a careful reading of Are Electric Vehicle Subsidies Efficient? by Germain Belzile & Mark Milke of the Montreal Economic Institute.

Despite the questionable wisdom of the Mayor’s largesse in year 375 , and the apparent total inability of his administration to comprehend, let alone adhere to, project management of capital works,  More venture capital has been invested in Montreal than any other Canadian city in Q2a 145 per cent increase from the previous three-month period.

A call-out to those who follow (and understand) bitcoins, we would welcome an explanation of a strange new twist in bitcoin’s “civil war”—and a way to bet on the outcome

Last week, thanks to Gerald’s weekly research and Catherine Gillbert’s follow up, we all learned something about the Koh-i-Noor diamond  We rarely consider Canada as a source of precious stones, but this week, Terry Jones has sent a news item about  Canada’s only known deposit of sapphires and where there could be more. NB sapphires are Diana’s birthstone, should anyone care.

Random trivia to make your day:

A UK airport declared a “Marmite amnesty.”
London City is offering passengers a travel-sized version of the salty spread as a swap for jars that exceed the maximum size for liquids.

Billionaires are flocking to a trailer park in the Hamptons.
A beach-side mobile home is perfect for storing your surfboards.

Honolulu is banning pedestrians from texting at crosswalks.
“Distracted walking” fines start at $35 for first-time offenders.

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